Friday, May 31, 2013

Goats, bunnies and ADVENTURE!

As I told the clerk at the store tonight, "today was a pretty great day."  I started put the day by getting up early to get Cait off to her field trip to the coast. I used the extra time to make home fries for the older two kids. There was so much happiness. Then, before heading out for the day, I packed up all the Salmon Watch gear that's been living in my garage and shed for far too long.

Shortly after arriving at work I submitted the grant application I've been working on for the last week. We're requesting just under $5,000 for things like a new dry suit, waders/boots, pruners and loppers but the thing I'm most excited about is the possibility of a new waterproof GPS capable digital camera.

After submitting the grant, my co-worker J. and contractor M. loaded up all the tarps and headed out to the work site.  While J. and M. made a few stops on their way, so I took a few moments to meet the demonstration farm's newest residents.

They have about a dozen baby billy goats which will be used to remove invasive vegetation. This little guy was soooo friendly. He was definitely ready for his close-up.

Then I checked in on the bunnies. Poor sad earless bunnies. They were their mamas first little, and she cleaned their ears right off shortly after birth. They kind of look like guinea pigs. No cute pictures of them though, their hutch is too dark. After fun with the farm animals, J. and M. arrived and we got to work.

 J. decided to take the ATV down to the work site, and rode off down the hill. I drove his truck down to the lower stream crossing and found that M. had already driven across and neither he nor the ATV were in sight, so I drove the truck across. I went for a short walk to find the boys and met up with them after 10-15 minutes. I was greeted by J. calling out, "you're braver than I am!" Apparently he had never driven his truck across to the other side of the channel, as I had just done. Whoops!

 We spent the next few hours getting stuff set-up for Monday's "Riparian Restoration Olympics" with all of the middle school teams from Springfield. (more on that soon!) Having the truck on the other side allowed us to empty the tarps right where we needed them without having to haul them piece by piece across the channel.

After we were done, we decided to cross the channel at the upper crossing, where we thought it would be an easier go. He drove through the 6' tall reed canary-grass, and I followed in his truck. He had to stand up on the ATV to be able to see where the "road" went. At one point I drove over a willow, not kidding.

As we approached the upper crossing, J. stopped the ATV and walked back to let me know that there was a bit of a drop into the channel, indicating that it was about 6" or so. I watched as he hit the drop and proceeded through the channel. Then I slowly approached the drop. Unfortunately, one side of the drop was steeper than the other and as I went over it the truck shifted sideways and one of the wheels was up off the ground. Yikes.

So I did what any girl would do, I continued forward, allowing the momentum to carry the truck over the drop, and then let out the clutch a bit to gain momentum to make it up the other side of the channel. At two points, I had three wheels in contact with the ground. It was a bit scary.

When I made it up the other side of the channel, and stopped behind J., he came around to the passenger door and said, "That wasn't too bad." I replied, enthusiastically, "THAT WAS AWESOME." And it was.

We finished up putting away gear, and I apologized again for driving to the other side. It could have ended badly, but lucky for me, it actually worked out well. All in all, a pretty good day.

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